Handloom cotton and linen sarees are perfect for soaring temperatures. Here’s our pick of the five summer sarees that are wardrobe must-haves.
A. Dhakai cotton sarees :
For centuries, the muslin produced by Bengali artisans was considered the finest in the world. The floaty, sheer cotton sarees woven in West Bengal and Bangladesh are a fitting response to the humid weather of the region.
The cotton saree that’s handwoven exclusively in Dhaka, Bangladesh, is called a Dhakai saree. It’s lightweight and made with a very fine cotton that gives the saree a gauzy look. The exquisite Jamdani technique of creating motifs using an extra weft thread is often applied, resulting in handloom cotton sarees that are delicate yet masterfully detailed.
B. Linen sarees :
Linen is perhaps the oldest fabric in the world, but these days, it’s the trendiest saree on Indian runways. The fabric is delightfully airy and dries faster than cotton. The designs of linen sarees complement the fabric’s earthy texture; the patterns are simple while the colours veer towards either pastel or darker shades.
For the office, opt for a handloom linen saree with pinstripes or a colourblocked design. Don’t forget to complete the look with vintage silver jewellery. For days of leisure, a floral embroidered or printed linen saree will do nicely.
C. Kanchi cotton sarees :
The temple town of Kanchipuram has a rich and nuanced weaving heritage. While its handloom silk sarees are must-haves for bridal trousseaus and special occasions, their motifs and colours have been naturally adapted into summer-friendly cottons as well.
Handloom sarees from Kanchipuram, whether silk or cotton, are filled with motifs inspired by the local culture, flora and fauna. Apart from temple and mythological motifs, you’ll find a bouquet of blossoms, auspicious birds and sacred animals. Colour contrasts are a signature of handloom Kanchipuram sarees, and each colour has a special meaning, which you can read more about in this blog.
D. Mangalagiri cotton sarees :
Simple and butter-soft, handloom Mangalagiri cotton sarees are summer essentials. In their most basic form, the sarees feature a single colour and a contrast border. The plain body is a signature, though you’ll also find variations such as ‘missing checks’. Silver or gold zari borders and striped pallus are favoured, with the border occasionally ridged into a temple design.
Their minimalistic look and kaleidoscopic shades are what make handloom Mangalagiri sarees so appealing; the fact that they get softer with time is an added bonus. Pair your handloom Mangalagiri cotton saree with a floral, ikat or Kalamkari blouse to elevate this summer staple.
E. Banarasi cotton sarees :
The pit looms of Banaras have been at work along the banks of the Ganga for centuries, resulting in one of India’s most refined and beautiful weaves. While handloom Banarasi silk sarees are prized occasionwear, Banarasi cotton sarees boast the same patterns and craftsmanship as their silk counterparts.
The paisley or ‘ambi’, Persian-inspired floral motifs such as lilies and irises, as well as delicate jaal patterns find a supple canvas in the translucent cotton that’s used for Banarasi sarees. To know more about handloom Banarasi sarees, read this blog. To look stunning in them this summer, take your pick from our wide selection.
While India’s handloom silk sarees are often spotlighted for their craftsmanship, it’s the handloom cotton saree that’s truly the style staple of Indian women. It’s what generations have lived their lives in, finding comfort in the saree’s easy drape and beauty in its countless motifs and colours.